So you love to travel, but you hate packing. We get it. Sometimes it can be quite a hassle – especially when you can’t decide what to stuff into your already-overflowing suitcase and what to reluctantly leave out. Plus, it gets worse when you start to experience that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something of absolute importance. Obviously, passports, travel documents and cash are a no-brainer – but to be prepared, take full advantage of the limited space you have.
So here’s our checklist of top 10 essential travel items and accessories that will make your life that much easier, as well as save time and money.
1. NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES
Drown out the shrill screams of crying infants, the pounding beats from the nightclub next door and all other disruptive noises (especially on the plane, where you can’t escape) with this genius invention, which gives you a much-needed good night’s rest – whenever and wherever. It can mean a world of difference between a cranky or cheery you the next morning.
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2. PORTABLE DIGITAL LUGGAGE SCALE
Unless you’re one of those who can magically approximate the weight of your bags just by lifting them up, this simple little gadget is essential for you to retain your sanity. Nothing is worse than lifting your bulky suitcase onto a tiny bathroom scale, only to realise you can’t see the reading at all. So invest in this and save yourself the trouble (and embarrassment) of re-packing and rearranging your stuff in front of the entire airport.
3. ZIPPER STORAGE BAGS
These are amazing lifesavers – they’re inexpensive, they don’t take up much space (or weight), and they’re ridiculously useful. Use these waterproof babies to store toiletries, sandy clothes, wet swimsuits, dirty shoes, cosmetics, detergent powder, important documents… and the list goes on.
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4. DUCT TAPE
Just like the above-mentioned, this multi-purpose product can come to the rescue in almost any situation. Ripped a hole in your bag? Want to remove lint from your clothes? Discovered a tear on your worn-out shoes? Your flip-flops broke apart just as you stepped out of the hotel room? You know what to do – tape ‘em up.
5. PORTABLE POWER PACKS AND UNIVERSAL MULTI-PLUG ADAPTERS
Because you don’t want to be stuck with the realisation that the country you’re in has completely different plugs than what you’ve got. Neither do you want to sacrifice precious beauty sleep to wake up every few hours and switch chargers for your various gadgets.
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6. MEDICATION AND GERM ELIMINATORS
This is especially for trips to developing countries – trust us, you don’t want to spend half the vacay burning up or puking your guts out. It’s not a pretty sight. So arm yourself with simple meds like aspirin or charcoal pills, and take precaution with hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes or mozzie repellent.
7. TRAVEL CARE KIT
Packed with travel-sized toiletries (so you can bring your fave brands), a hair brush, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a compact mirror and a hydrating spray, this is just the pick-me-up you need to look fresh and presentable after spending hours cramped on a plane.
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8. SAFETY PINS
Functional in countless ways, this nifty travel tool can repair or prevent any wardrobe malfunctions, like when you use it in place of a missing button. Plus, it acts as a temporary luggage lock (by fastening both zips together), helps to pin two items together (like socks, gloves or curtains) and even serves as a makeshift clothes peg (for you to dry your stuff on the clothesline).
9. INFLATABLE PILLOW
You’re probably thinking you’re too young for this, but neck pillows can immerse you into a world of comfort you never knew existed in the economy cabin of a plane. You’ll wake up without any terrible kinks in your neck and start your trip on a great note.
10. COMPARTMENTALISED BAG INSERT
This handy organiser is great for arranging stuff in your carry-on, so you don’t have to waste time rummaging through packets of tissues or tangled up earphones just to find your passport – especially when there’s a long line behind you at the security checkpoint. With this inserted into your bag, it’s so easy to access or locate anything you need, you’ll begin to wonder why it took you so long to get one.
About the writer:
Alicia Lee is a dessert junkie with a serious (and probably incurable) case of wanderlust. Never one to pass up on retail therapy, she loves a great bargain and can usually be spotted on weekends browsing through quirky shops or chillaxing at a quiet cafe.